my prayers and led me down the path of
homeschooling the twins.
Homeschooling gave the boys many
more “real life” opportunities to learn appropriate social skills. Admittedly, we are
much more socially active as a pastor’s
family, but school at home gave them
even more access to learning life skills.
Public schools can’t focus on social
skills. Individualized Education Plans
(IEPs) are required to emphasize academic goals. Life skills are secondary.
Most schools are too strapped for staff
and finances to provide an effective social skills program for autism. And yet,
these skills are the hardest skills for students with autism to acquire and what
they need to master the most.
As young boys, the twins so craved
sensory input they would lick the floors
at restaurants, bite themselves and each
other, even walk up and hit strangers in
order to “feel” them. Their struggles with
proprioceptive input (knowing where
they were in space) caused them to
“stim” by banging on tables, each other,
and anyone nearby.
Homeschooling provided room for
grace. It offered us space and time to
teach appropriate social behavior with
a spiritual foundation. The twins’ bod-
ies have autism, not their spirits. Their
spirits are just as alive and healthy with
Jesus as yours and mine. The basis of all
correct behavior is found in the com-
mandments of God. And the result and
purpose of proper behavior is the ability
to serve others.
Isaiah serves his grandmother with Alzheimer’s by caring for her tenderly as he
walks her to the car, brings her something
to eat, helps her prepare for bed. He’s a
teacher’s helper in children’s church and
for the children’s class on Wednesday
nights. Isaac also serves in church as an
usher, kitchen worker, and at the sound
booth. Both boys love to serve.
Success wasn’t easy or sudden. In some
areas, we saw no positive gains for many
years. But these days, I’m often sur-
prised with the boys’ ability to exhibit an
appropriate response. Recently, after a
friend of theirs lost a loved one, I heard
Isaac say, “I’m sorry for your loss.” I was
stunned. He had learned to say the ap-
propriate thing because, by God’s grace,
we never kept the boys away from socially
It isn’t pie-in-the-sky thinking to hope
for your child. It’s exactly the kind of
thinking God wants you to have. He has
a plan for them.
The hopes you have are much like His
“But Jesus beheld them, and said unto
them, With men this is impossible; but
with God all things are possible” (Matthew
Karla Akins, D. Ch. Ed., is the author of
several history books for homeschoolers
including O Canada Her Story, Sacagawea,
and Jacques Cartier. She is a regular contributor to Happy Sis Magazine. Her first
novel about a homeschool mom and her
autistic son, The Pastor’s Wife Wears Biker
Boots, was published in 2013. You can
contact Karla for speaking engagements at
gave the boys many
more “real life”
Do you need help teaching
YOUR struggling learner?
THIS IS THE BOOK YOU NEED!
You will find chapters on:
Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, and Dyscalculia
Language-based learning disabilities
Teaching study skills
Assistive technology for special needs
Writing a Student Education Plan
Judi has been a Special Needs
Educational Consultant for
HomeSchooling families since 2000.
WestBow Press, Barnes & Noble, Amazon.
Available in June 2016.
8. 5” x 11” 296 pp. E-book ($9.99)
Soft cover ($31.95)
Judith Munday, M.A., M.Ed.